From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 3, Number 39 - December 24, 2003
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Cattle still testing clean

by Cat Urbigkit

With more than 3,200 head of Sublette County cattle bled for brucellosis testing by animal health officials in the wake of one infected herd being detected, test results so far revealed those cattle free of the disease, according to Wyoming State Veterinarian Dr. Jim Logan.

However, four head of Sublette County cattle have been classified as suspects. Logan cautioned that these animals were not high titers, but will have to be kept isolated until after calving as a precautionary measure.

In a Monday evening interview, Logan also pointed out that Big Piney veterinarian Dr. Gordon Mickelson has tested an additional 5,115 head of cattle from Sublette County and adjacent areas in recent months and all of those animals tested negative for the disease. Logan said the testing conducted by Mickelson was conducted as routine surveillance in what is viewed as a high-risk area.

While Logan has declared Doc Jensen's cattle herd near Boulder to be an infected herd, federal officials have not yet done so. That's a benefit to Wyoming, because once the federal declaration is made, a 60-day timeclock starts ticking for certain actions to occur. Delaying that declaration gives state animal health officials an opportunity to get ahead of the clock by tracking down adjacent cattle herds and getting them tested for the disease, for which there is no cure.

With one infected herd, Wyoming's brucellosis class-free status remains intact. Under the federal rules for brucellosis eradication, "If a single affected herd is found in a class-free state, the state may maintain its class-free status if it meets the following conditions, which must be satisfied within 60 days of the identification of the affected animal:

The affected herd must be immediately quarantined, tested for brucellosis, and depopulated; and

An epidemiologic investigation must be performed, and the investigation must confirm that brucellosis has not spread from the affected herd. All adjacent herds, source herds and contact herds must be epidemiologically investigated, and each of those herds must receive a complete herd test with negative results."

Adjacent herds or herds sharing common pasture or having other contact with a herd affected with brucellosis and herds containing previous purchases from or exchanges with an affected herd must have an approved action plan within 15 days from the time the affected herd is disclosed. According to federal rules: "The plan should be adapted to the circumstances and may require handling the herd as an affected herd. If a disagreement occurs on the method of handling the herd, the herd owner, the state animal health official, the designated brucellosis epidemiologist, and, if requested, the owner's veterinarian will meet to resolve the differences."

The loss of Wyoming's class-free status is at issue in any brucellosis outbreak. Maintaining the class-free status allows free movement of cattle to market. Loss of that status would mean the imposition of testing requirements for marketing. Animal health officials from other states are currently keeping their eyes on the Wyoming situation, awaiting the outcome of testing to determine what restrictions, if any, to impose to protect their state's cattle herds.

Colorado was the only state that had imposed sanctions on Wyoming cattle until last week when California joined in. Effective immediately, all sexually intact cattle over 18 months old entering California from Wyoming must have official individual identification, a negative brucellosis test within the last 30 days, a certificate of veterinary inspection and an entry permit. Exemptions are in place for certified brucellosis-free herds and for cattle moving directly to slaughter without diversion.

The restrictions appeared to have a domino effect, with Nebraska announcing on Monday new restrictions, with more stringent requirements for cattle originating from Sublette County, less restrictions for cattle originating in Teton and Lincoln counties, and no additional restrictions on cattle originating in other areas of Wyoming.

The order signed by Nebraska State Veterinarian Dr. Larry Williams states: "Information has been provided to the office of the Nebraska State Veterinarian that Wyoming has recently found bovine brucellosis in at least one breeding cattle herd in Sublette County, Wyo. Information also implicates other herds in and around Sublette County have also had extensive exposure to the infected herd."

According to the Nebraska order:

Cattle and bison originating from Wyoming and exposed to a herd quarantined for brucellosis are not eligible for importation unless going for immediate slaughter.

Non-exposed cattle and bison, except steers and spayed heifers, entering the state for any purpose other than immediate slaughter and originating from Sublette County, Wyo., shall meet the following requirements:

1. Obtain a pre-entry permit by calling (402) 471-2351, and

2. Shall be individually identified with official eartags and the identification recorded on the Certificate of Veterinary Inspection, and

3. Sexually intact females must be officially calfhood vaccinated. Feeder heifers which are not calfhood vaccinated may enter the state under quarantine to a feedlot where they must remain until slaughtered.

4. Originate from a herd that has been established for at least one year with no untested herd additions and has had a negative whole herd test of all animals over 18 months of age and older conducted within 365 days of movement into Nebraska, and

5. Sexually intact cattle 18 months of age and older, shall be tested and found negative to bovine brucellosis within 30 days prior to entering Nebraska.

Non-exposed cattle and bison, except steers and spayed heifers, entering the state for any purpose other than immediate slaughter and originating from Lincoln and Teton Counties in Wyoming, shall meet the following requirements:

1. Obtain a pre-entry permit by calling (402) 471-2351; and

2. Shall be individually identified with official eartags and the identification recorded on the Certificate of Veterinary Inspection, and

3. Sexually intact females must be official calfhood vaccinated. Feeder heifers which are not calfhood vaccinated may enter the state under quarantine to a feedlot where they must remain until slaughtered.

4. Sexually intact cattle, 18 months of age and older, shall be individually identified with official ear tags and the identification recorded on the Certificate of Veterinary Inspection, and

a. Shall be tested and found negative to bovine brucellosis within 30 days prior to entering Nebraska, or

b. Originate from a herd that has been established for at least one year with no untested herd additions and a negative whole herd test of all animals over 18 months of age and older conducted within 365 days of movement into Nebraska.

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